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* RSF press freedom index indicates improvement in media freedom in Sri Lanka
Thu, Jan 31, 2013, 10:38 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 31, Colombo: Despite serious concerns Sri Lanka has shown an improvement in media freedom last year compared to the previous year, the 2013 World Press Freedom Index compiled by the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) indicates.

The 2013 World Press Freedom Index released by the RSF Tuesday has rated Sri Lanka at 162nd place out of 179 countries.

Last year Sri Lanka was one place lower at 163 in the same index, which indicates some improvement in media freedom in the country over the past one year.

Among its neighbors in South Asia Sri Lanka ranked the lowest in press freedom although all the neighbors fared worse last year than the previous year.

India fell nine places to 140, the lowest for the "world's biggest democracy" since 2002, according to the authors. Pakistan fell 8 places to 159 last year and Bangladesh dropped 15 places to 114th place in the Index. Nepal fell 12 places to the 118th place.

Finland is the number one ranked country in media freedom while the country with the worst record is Eritrea.

The index was based on a range of criteria, from legislation to violence against journalists.

"The Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders does not take direct account of the kind of political system but it is clear that democracies provide better protection for the freedom to produce and circulate accurate news and information than countries where human rights are flouted," Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire has said.

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